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Is Linux gaining or not?

© May 2004 Tony Lawrence

Tue May 4 15:52:33 GMT 2004 Is Linux gaining or not?


Some contrary opinions over at Slashdot this morning (which isn't the mostly homogenous crowd of Unix/Linux folk it used to be). Well, forgetting the fact that I am horribly biased against Microsoft, disliking both their products and their corporate morals, I honestly can't see how Microsoft is going to "win" against Linux. Unless they cheat, which is nothing new for them.

But barring their being able to legislate Linux out of existence or disable it by way of copyrights and patents, I really can't see that they have any long term prospects of surviving (other than as an app vendor, which is the only place they are making any money anyway).

People like control. With Microsoft, the control of your systems is firmly in their grasp. They can force you into upgrades you don't want and charge you whatever they please. They'll keep their interfaces as secret as they want to, and unless you are a big customer, your need to understand those interfaces is unimportant.

That's on the user side. On the app vendor side, the ONLY way to avoid unfair competition from Microsoft is to move off their platform. There are also cost savings (competive advantage) if you are providing an appliance - we see that already with file/print and mail servers with Linux as their base OS.

On the other side of this argument, there are those who feel that Microsoft's .NET will lock up everything into a Microsoft world. This is a concern for Linux, but it isn't being ignored: see Mono and https://developers.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/04/29/002230&mode=thread&tid=170&tid=185&tid=187 for more on that.

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